IBM sued again for alleged discrimination – this time against White males

Top Trump lieutenant Stephen Miller hopes to skewer Big Blue's Linux slinger on behalf of ex-director

IBM-owned Red Hat has been sued for allegedly discriminating against a White male employee. The legal team behind the suit is led by Stephen Miller, a key anti-immigration advisor to Donald Trump during his presidency.

The stateside complaint claims that in the pursuit of greater racial and gender diversity within the Linux distro maker, Red Hat axed senior director Allan Kingsley Wood, an employee of eight years. According to the suit, that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative within Red Hat "necessitates prioritizing skin color and race as primary hiring factors," and this, and not other factors, led to him being laid off.

Basically, Wood claims he was unfairly let go for being a White man, rather for performance or the like, because Red Hat was focused on prioritizing in an unlawfully discriminatory fashion people of other races and genders to diversify its ranks.

[Wood] became a victim of Red Hat’s discriminatory employment policies and was punished for criticizing the same

The lawsuit [PDF], filed in a federal Idaho court this week, links Wood's termination to an announcement Red Hat made on June 7 concerning new DEI goals, including a target by 2028 to have a workforce 30 percent female and 30 percent of color. Two weeks after this announcement, the Linux maker told Wood his position had been eliminated and that it was letting him go.

Wood's opinions on religion and politics were also allegedly a factor in the firing, as the complaint says he was "vocal about his opposition" to Red Hat's DEI policies, a position that "several managers took issue with." Among those opinions was, presumably, his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, though Red Hat gave Wood an exemption on religious grounds and allowed the now-former employee to work remotely.

The suit says Red Hat staff made statements at events and in writing that were "derogatory towards White individuals" and "presented an anti-White agenda." One apparent result of this agenda, according to the complaint, was that Wood was axed along with 21 colleagues, of whom 20 were White and 20 were male. Indeed, earlier that year Red Hat signaled it would lay off at least 800 of its 20,000 employees.

Additionally, Wood also says Red Hat granted him a leave of absence to take care of his sick wife, but then allegedly revoked this leave after just four days. That may be a violation of America's Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks off to care of a family member suffering a serious illness.

In all, Red Hat is charged with racial discrimination, gender discrimination, retaliation against Wood's opinions, and violating FMLA. The suit asks that Red Hat admit the allegations and to award the ex-employee with compensation for lost earnings and emotional damages, plus punitive damages.

"Though he was an exemplary employee and on a fast track to becoming an executive, plaintiff became a victim of Red Hat’s discriminatory employment policies and was punished for criticizing the same," the suit, which includes internal slides and messages to support its claims, stated.

If you're curious about Wood's opinions, as mentioned in his lawsuit, he does for example see Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter, now X, as a good thing.

"Do you recognize and acknowledge that the acquisition has led to an immensely valuable exposure of wrongful censorship and state collusion to control the public's access to the truth?" Wood wrote on LinkedIn in conversation with another user. "That ought to be counted as one of the most generous acts in history."

Wood then warned against "trusting some elite group to curate the information you are able to consider and evaluate for yourself."


Wood has the backing of America First Legal (AFL), a nonprofit that filed the lawsuit on his behalf and supplied him with a lawyer. "The radical left is using its power inside and outside of the government to destroy our country," AFL thunders on its about page. The group's leadership is composed of former Trump administration members, including its leader Stephen Miller, who served as a senior advisor to the now-former president.

The suit cites James O'Keefe, the controversial founder of Project Veritas who this year settled a defamation suit brought against him by the postmaster of Erie County, Pennsylvania.

In December, O'Keefe shared leaked video that appeared to show IBM CEO Arvind Krishna asking managers to diversify their staff – essentially, hire non-Whites – or risk losing their bonuses. A top Red Hat executive also appeared to suggest people had been fired for failing to diversify teams.

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race in the workplace," O'Keefe said at the time.

We are suing IBM to right egregious wrongs, fight corporate racism, and deliver accountability in the face of momentous injustice

Miller, meanwhile, is particularly notable. As a major architect of Trump's tough immigration policy – including the Muslim travel ban – he was subpoenaed in 2022 by a federal grand jury investigating attempts by some to overturn the 2020 Presidential election, and isn't a lawyer.

In a statement Wednesday, Miller claimed: “Americans were shocked and horrified when a recording revealed IBM’s CEO openly discussing illegal race-based discrimination in IBM’s hiring practices — violating the rights of employees, the trust of consumers, the conscience of Americans, and the laws of the United States.

"Today, we are taking action on behalf of a courageous plaintiff against his former employer, filing a lawsuit in federal court to get justice for our client and to stop this flagrantly lawless and bigoted conduct. We are suing IBM to right egregious wrongs, fight corporate racism, and deliver accountability in the face of momentous injustice."

Wood vs. Red Hat is just one of a hundred or so legal battles AFL has taken part in since 2021, when the group was founded. It's not clear right now how successful AFL-backed litigation is overall; the nonprofit's most notable win was against a $4 billion fund for Black farmers, which was struck down in December 2022. 

AFL also filed a suit in October against New York University for their alleged future discrimination against a White man who had not yet applied to the college. And late last year, AFL lobbied America's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to probe IBM's DEI programs for any rule breaking.

It's too early to tell how likely Wood is to succeed in his case. A 2020 lawsuit against Google on similar grounds didn't even make it to court because the plaintiff withdrew. On the other hand, IBM has been settling age-discrimination claims left and right, so perhaps we'll see that happen here.

We've reached out to Red Hat and AFL for further comment on the impending court battle, and we'll update if we hear back. ®

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